PARASOMNIAS: SLEEPWALKING

Perhaps the strangest of all sleep disorders is sleepwalking, more technically known as somnambulism. Many of us can recall incidents where we, or our relatives, were discovered wandering about the house, seemingly wide awake but behaving in bizarre, funny, or sometimes dangerous ways. Come morning, sleepwalkers are completely unaware of their nocturnal perambulations and frequently wince as others recount the tales of their outrageous activities.
Sleepwalking episodes are probably directly related to deep sleep. The most striking symptom of the condition, of course, is what researchers call intense autonomic activation—or, in layman’s terms, unconscious movement. Sleepwalking activity may last anywhere from five minutes to half an hour but usually less than ten minutes. Walkers wear blank expressions (and sometimes not much else). They seem indifferent to the environment, for example, ignoring freezing cold and traipsing barefoot in the snow. Physically awake but mentally asleep, they demonstrate only a minimal level of awareness and reactivity but do exhibit some skill in maneuvering around objects. They know they are walking down steps, for example, and can open doors or use tools appropriately. By and large, however, their activity is purposeless and clumsy; they are unable to play the piano, for instance, or to prepare a meal. Somnambulists’ eyes are open, but they don’t see. A sleepwalker may talk, more or less coherently.
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Posted on Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 at 11:30 am and is filed under Anti Depressants-Sleeping Aid. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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